My very first teacher was my very best teacher. And I know that besides my sister and I, there are a number of other people out there who would say the same thing about her.
So I felt it was only appropriate to pay tribute to her with her favorite cookie as I join with other food and craft bloggers to pay tribute and unite in support of Newtown, Connecticut and Sandy Hook Elementary School.
And I know that she had a huge impact on so many others. Seriously, she has a Facebook Friends list as long as your average teenager. Except, unlike the superficiality of these teenage online “friendships” she knows the histories of all these people, and keeps tabs now on their careers, spouses, children, and other general goings on. Practically every conversation I have with her, she says, “You remember so -and-so? Well…..” and then goes on to relay some story that really only someone who truly cares would actually remember. And in return, so many of these former students would tell you that she was their favorite teacher or advisor, or she inspired them to teach, or encouraged them to pursue another passion. I still live near where I grew up and she taught, and we can’t go ANYWHERE without her running into someone she knows, and they just have to catch up. Heck, this kind of stuff even happens in places like Disney World. This may drive me nuts, but I am so proud of her.
And maybe, just maybe if every kid had a mom or a teacher or an advisor or a confidante like her, someone who was able to get through to them, then maybe we wouldn’t have to hear about horrible events like what happened last week at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It is teachers like her, like the principal and teachers in Newtown who did anything and everything to protect, calm, comfort, and, now, console their students. You’ve heard the stories. I can’t even relay any of them here because thinking about them brings me to tears.
And honestly, I have been a coward. I have not watched anything on TV or read any articles. My husband will start to tell me something he read or heard, and I shut him down. I quickly scroll past photos of the victims and even the heroes that people share on Facebook. A couple of my blogging friends have shared stories they have heard about people who were related to victims or other students at the school I had to stop because I broke down in tears. Part of this is because I am already highly emotional with with pregnancy hormones coursing through me, and I need to hold it together to keep my 2-year-old happily oblivious and myself as low-stress as possible for the benefit of my unborn child. I need to protect my little boys for as long as I possibly can.
But part of me also doesn’t want to deal with the reality of what these families are dealing with, the reality of the dangers in this world. My mom has never had the luxury of being a coward. She has had to go to school after these tragedies. She has been there when there were threats to the school she was working at, and even direct threats to her own safety and well-being. This is one area where she has been an example to me, but I haven’t yet learned the lesson. Thank God there are people like her that have learned it, and live it everyday.
To be honest, I hate making these cookies. The dough is really stiff, so it burns out the motors on small hand mixers. Using a KitchenAid breaks up the walnuts too much, so I usually have to mix it by hand. A single batch really doesn’t make that many. While baking them, you have to be super diligent – take them off the cookie sheet too soon and they crumble, wait too long, and the powdered sugar you roll them in doesn’t melt to create the almost icing-like coating, and then that second coating of powdered sugar just falls right off.
But will I ever let a Christmas go by without making them? Nope! I would never let my mom down, because after over 33 years, she has never let me down.
The other is a list of bloggers participating today in Cookies & Crafts for Sandy Hook, our small way of supporting the victims, families, and community of Newtown. If you have a blog and have posted a cookie or craft in tribute, feel free to add your link here. I’d love for all of you to visit these blogs in support.
Don’t have a blog? That’s okay. You can still share something for Sandy Hook. Take a picture and post it on your Facebook wall, your Twitter feed. Share on Instagram or your Google+ or wherever you can to unite us in our tribute. Please spread the word about this united effort wherever you can. You can use the hashtag #BloggersforSandyHook.
Something people always think about in times like this is how they can help monetarily. After some searching, we found the Newtown Youth and Family Services website. According to their website, Newtown Youth and Family Services, Inc. is a “licensed, non-profit, mental health clinic and youth services bureau dedicated to helping children and families achieve their highest potential. NYFS provides programs, services, activities, counseling, support groups and education throughout the Greater Newtown area.” All donations made to them are going to go back to those affected by the school shooting. You can find their website here.
Tell me about a special teacher in your life – whether it is a school teacher, parent, relative, friend, whatever. I think we would all love to share these stories of inspiration with each other.
- ½ c powdered sugar
- ¼ t salt
- 1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 2¼ c all-purpose flour
- ½ c chopped walnuts
- Additional powdered sugar for rolling the cookies
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- In a large bowl, combine the ½ c sugar, salt, and butter, and mix well.
- Add the vanilla.
- Gradually add the flour, and stir until well combined.
- Work the nuts into the dough.
- Chill dough in the refrigerator until firm.
- Form in 1 in. balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until barely set, but not browned.
- Cool on the pan for just a couple of minutes, roll the warm cookies in powdered sugar, and place on a rack to cool.
- Once cooled completely, roll in powdered sugar again.
Enjoy! And please check out the links below!